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Memorial To A Marriage

Memorial To A Marriage

You know the old adage art imitates life, well how about art imitates death. This is, in fact, what artist Patricia Cronin has done.

Earlier this summer I visited the studios of both Patricia, and her partner, the painter Deborah Kass. The two share adjacent lofts in a Brooklyn artists' building. I had gone to catch up with Kass who was busily finishing up work for her second solo show at Paul Kasmin opening later this month. Fortunately, I stuck my head into Cronin's studio before I left and we got to talking about her most famous and controversial work, "Memorial To a Marriage."

Patricia and Deborah are one of the few real art power couples, who each have earned their own place in the canon of contemporary art. Cronin has been the recipient of the Rome Prize as well as having her works in major museum across the U.S.

"Memorial" is a real life grave marker that Patricia designed and carved in 2002 of her and Deborah in bed. Patricia has described this piece as her way of celebrating their partnership of 17 years, in what has been and still is the inhospitable marriage in-equality climate of the last decades.

After the sculpture was created it rested over the couples burial plot at the Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx, New York becoming a destination for visitors looking for the famous graves of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.

Since then "Memorial To a Marriage" has been touring museums across the country and is currently at the Station Museum in Houston, TX. Inspired by the gravestones of the famous Pare LaChaise cemetery in Paris, a bronze version of the sculpture will be installed on the couples plot this month, while the marble original will continue to travel.

There are so many things that I find moving and powerful about this work, it almost doesn't bear repeating — just watch the video.

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